Bill Richardson Withdraws From Commerce Post

Governor Bill Richardson has withdrawn his name from consideration for the position of Secretary of Commerce due to a pay for play investigation.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday announced that he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama’s commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract.
Richardson’s withdrawal was the first disruption of Obama’s Cabinet process and the second “pay-to-play” investigation that has touched Obama’s transition to the presidency. The president-elect has remained above the fray in both the case of arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the New Mexico case.

A federal grand jury is investigating how a California company that contributed to Richardson’s political activities won a New Mexico transportation contract worth more than $1 million. Richardson said in a statement issued by the Obama transition office that the investigation could take weeks or months but expressed confidence it will show he and his administration acted properly.

Good for Richardson for doing the honorable thing. With the information to date, I think it’s likely it’s going to be found that he did nothing improper. If that’s the case, I hope he has another opportunity to serve on the Federal level. He’s a capable politician who has done, from all accounts, a good job as governor of New Mexico.

FILED UNDER: Politicians, US Politics, ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. mike says:

    Alex – have you been to new mexico? Sante fe has a few good restaurants – Taos is about the worst ski town that I have seen since West VA – there is nothing in NM, literally – it is hard to screw up NM. How is Richardson qualified to do anything? The only thing NM has done well is to fool tourists into thinking it is a tourist destination.

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  3. mpw280 says:

    Gee just think what would have happened if the press had vetted the whole Dem side of the ticket. There wouldn’t have been a candidate, none of the people running for president would have survived if the press had done the job they did on Palin on the Dems. By the time Obama gets down to the people that can stand the vetting process for his cabinet positions he will be down to 20 somethings who are political virgins with no records, kind of like him. mpw

  4. markm says:

    …well…it could have been a Dodd/Wrangle battle for Sec. of Commerce…so…

  5. Eneils Bailey says:

    Good for Richardson for doing the honorable thing.

    The honorable thing for him to do, would be turn himself in and serve time for violating the public trust.

    He is a fairly inept, over-rated, political character from the Clinton Administration who brings nothing more to the table than more Hispanic votes.

  6. Triumph says:

    This guy is a typical liberal, Obama crook. In addition to being a crook, he is an immigrant–just like Obama. The whole liberal establishment is going down!

    With all of these allegations surrounding Obama’s inner circle, it is becoming more clear that Bush needs to stay on for another term.

  7. Eneils Bailey says:

    “With all of these allegations surrounding Obama’s inner circle, it is becoming more clear that Bush needs to stay on for another term.”

    Nyuck…Nyuck…Nyuck…

    There is no true Conservative, let alone a true Republican who thinks GWB should serve another term.

  8. Franklin says:

    Unlike most people, I think I’ll actually wait to see what the investigation actually turns up before making a judgment.

    Ahh, what the heck, that’s too hard. Let’s just put him in front of the firing squad and be done with it.

    More seriously, this is probably going to go just like the Blago thing. Repubs and pundits will blither on for a few weeks about “allegations” and “scandal” around Obama, and then find he and his staff did nothing wrong.

  9. Christopher says:

    “first disruption” and “the president-elect has remained above the fray”? lol! Have you even heard about Emannuel, ?

    Plus, if things are so bad for Richardson, why doesn’t he also resign as gov? Liberals are just too funny!

  10. just me says:

    Actually on this one, some mud probably does need to go on Obama-not that Obama did anything wrong, but why do you pick a man who is under investigation, when he has to go through a nomination and senate approval process? Even if both you and the nominee are confidant nothing will come of the charges it just ends up giving political ammunition to the opposition.

  11. Ben says:

    I’m actually a bit saddened by this. Although I’m not a democrat at all, I actually liked Richardson. He had a hell of a lot more on his resume than almost anyone else in the Obama camp (Ambassador to UN, Energy Secretary, Congressman, Governor), and I was a little miffed that he got such a BS appointment as Commerce. Now I guess its a good thing for Obama he didn’t get a better appointment. My gut says he’s clean here, but I’ll wait and see.

  12. caj says:

    Richardson did the right thing by stepping down, although he must have known if he had done anything remotely shady it would have come to light eventually!!!

  13. JT says:

    While it is sad that Obama’s cabinet is facing this sort of situation so early, it’s refreshing that politicians are being held accountable for their actions.

  14. Bithead says:

    Actually on this one, some mud probably does need to go on Obama-not that Obama did anything wrong, but why do you pick a man who is under investigation, when he has to go through a nomination and senate approval process? Even if both you and the nominee are confidant nothing will come of the charges it just ends up giving political ammunition to the opposition.

    The reason is simple; He thought the whole country was Chicago, where he could get away with such things. Richardson, and now Clinton, too, to say nothing of Obama’s buddy, Blago, are caught up in pay for play scandals. It should be a shock to nobody. The investigations have been in the papers for years now, in all cases. There’s no way… No WAY… someone as finger guage driven as Obama couldn’t have known about the clouds over their heads.Yet, Obama appoints them.

    We’re left with the idea that yes, Obama and his people really are that stupid and disconnected, else yes, they’re that brazen…

    Either way, Obama’s off to a flying start, don’t you think?

  15. Drew says:

    Richardson was nothing more than a college professor and aquaintance who lived in my neighborhood…..oh, wait, I already used that one.

    Ummm, Richardson isn’t the person I knew…..oh, wait, I used that one too.

    Uh, Richardson, uh, well, yeah, I campaigned for him once, but I had no idea he would pawn my Senate seat……wait, that’s no good.

    Uh……..DAMN!!!

    For a “fresh new face” who brings “a new kind of politics” Obama sure seems to be surrounded by a number of strange agents……

  16. Floyd says:

    “”Good for Richardson for doing the honorable thing””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    First time for everything!